A 12-year-old girl, who was allegedly bullied at school, died after participating in TikTok's viral "choking challenge". Participants of this challenge, also called the "blackout challenge", have to choke themselves until they pass out.
Milagros Soto, who is from Argentina, had successfully tried out the challenge twice before, but failed in her third attempt. She was found dead in her bedroom after filming the whole incident for the online blackout challenge.
She Was Encouraged
Laura Luque, the girl's aunt, believes that someone encouraged the child to take part in it. She said her niece tried the challenge twice before she reportedly choked to death at her home in Captain Bermudez, Santa Fe Province in Argentina on January 13.
"On the third occasion, she could not remove the rope from her neck. "We are inconsolable. We gave her so much love," Laura said. "I believe someone encouraged her to do it."
Laura said her niece received a link on WhatsApp chat from someone to carry out the challenge. "I believe someone encouraged her to do it. She suffered a lot with bullying. She told us no one wanted her at school because she was pretty with blonde hair."
A spokesperson for the school Milagros attended said they support their student's family in this terrible moment. The school described the victim as a great student, friend, sweet, good and kind.
The police are looking into this incident
Choking Challenge has Never Been a TikTok Trend
Mahsau Cullinane, TikTok spokesperson, said this disturbing challenge, which people seem to learn about from sources other than TikTok, long predates the platform and has never been a TikTok challenge. "We remain vigilant in our commitment to user safety and would immediately remove related content if found. Our deepest sympathies go out to the family for their tragic loss."
Milagros is not the only one who died attempting the blackout challenge. A 9-year-old Arriani Arroyo passed away in February 2021. Her family filed a lawsuit against TikTok. "We just never thought there was a darker side to what TikTok allows on its platform," Arriani's mom said.
Arriani's dad had said if you see something online and you see people framing it as fun or a challenge or something interesting, you're sort of gamifying the particular thing and decreasing people's perception of the risks. "We don't want no other children out there to be a statistic of this situation again."
An 8-year-old from Texas and a 10-year-old from Pennsylvania also died in 2021 attempting this very challenge.